About KBRW

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KBRW Radio  produced in Barrow and streaming from the Top of the WORLD…

The station, which began broadcasting at noon on December 22, 1974, is the only   radio station serving an approximate area of 88,000 square miles. It started   modestly with a $180,000 grant from the State of Alaska and after 22 months of   planning, KBRW began broadcasting with 1,000 watts of power and programmed music   shows, hosted by a cadre of community volunteers. That signal was strengthened   in the villages starting in 1988 with a series of five translators, one for each   out-lying village served.

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Barrow, Alaska is the United States’ most northern community and is located 330   miles north of the Arctic Circle and just 1200 miles south of the North Pole.   The Chukchi Sea in the Arctic Ocean surrounds Barrow to the west, north, and   east. To the south, level tundra or permafrost (permanently frozen ground)   stretches for some 200 miles until the Brooks Mountain Range begins, separating   and isolating the North Slope (both a geographic and political designation) from   the rest of Alaska. KBRW is the only broadcast outlet originating in the region   and its AM signal (through a complex series of translators and repeaters)   reaches approximately 90,000 square miles from the Canadian border to the Bering   Sea.

Barrow is named after polar expedition sponsor Sir John Barrow,   following an 1826 visit of British sailing captain, Frederick W. Beechey.   Beechey is believed to be one of the first Caucasians to encounter the Inupiat   (or “real people” as the residents called themselves in Inupiaq, the language of   the Eskimo) and to sail around ‘The Point’ or a narrow spit of land that marks   the northern edge of the continent. The village where Barrow now stands was   known then as Ukpiagvik, or place where the snowy owl flies. These early people   are believed to have migrated to this region thousands of years ago from   Siberia, across the land bridge that is now the Bering Sea. These early people   were nomadic hunters who lived in skin tents and sod homes. (Igloos are rarely   found in this region.)

In the mid 19th Century, while commercial whaling   and fur trading were a common sight in Barrow, these encounters with Caucasians   had a significant effect on the local people like other indigenous people around   the world. Rifles and liquor were introduced and a variety of diseases such as   measles, small pox, and influenza. One particularly devastating strain of the   flu killed more than 200 Eskimos in 1900.